8 cover letter qualities that will get you that interview

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Your resume must always be accompanied by a cover letter. It introduces who you are and summarizes why you are a good fit for the job. It also explains important points in your career that may not be apparent in your resume – like why you have gaps in your career history or why you’ve had five jobs in five years.

The cover letter is the first impression you make, so it has to be convincing and compelling. It should move the employer to read your resume and call you for an interview. To craft an awe-inspiring and attention-grabbing cover letter, remember these qualities:

  1. Specific and genuine

    The first few sentences of your letter should tell the recruiter why you are writing to them and hook him/her to read on. So go straight to the point and be original. You may want to read Careerealism’s fresh new ways to start a cover letter to be inspired.

  2. Enthusiastic

    A good way to stand out from hundreds of applicants is to convey your enthusiasm and passion for the job. One way to do this is to connect your top skills to the company’s achievements and values. Research about the company to know which aspects to highlight. The goal is to show how well-versed you are about the company while indirectly complimenting their accomplishments and values.

  3. Not repetitive

    Don’t repeat your resume, instead, explain how you got a promotion, commendation, or what aspects of the job you love and excel in. This also a chance to let your personality shine through. Don’t just tell them that you are a hard worker or a results-oriented individual, give specific examples. Tell them clearly what you can contribute to the company.

  4. Personalized

    Nobody addresses their letter “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear HR or Recruitment Manager” anymore. If a name and designation are not mentioned in the want ad, do some research! Visit the company website or search on Google or LinkedIn. You can always call the company directly and ask. And sign your cover letter for that personal touch (if you are sending it by mail) – after a warm salutation like “Sincerely” or “Kind regards.”

  5. Easy to access and read

    Follow instructions. This shows that you thoroughly understand the job posting and are mindful of the requirements. Check if you need to send the letter in a certain format, whether as an attachment or body of an email. Make it easy for them to open and read your letter.

  6. Formal and concise

    The tone should always be formal and professional. Use the active voice. Don’t forget to thank the recruiter for their time. Also, no fancy fonts, emoticons and loud colors, please. The letter should be a one-pager, preferably with 2-3 paragraphs.

  7. Proactive

    Include a plan to follow-up. In the same line where you request for the interview, mention respectfully that you will call after a week or few days to schedule the meeting or even just to check if they received your application (be careful not to be too pushy).

  8. Error-free

    Always proofread before sending out. Read the letter thoroughly, even aloud, if you must. Better yet, ask someone else to read it. It is easier for fresh eyes to detect errors.

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Community Resources

Get more tips and cover letter samples here: A Guide to Writing Cover Letters and Other Employment-related Letters, Career Development Manitoba.

Writing effective cover letters is taught at employment seminars. You can ask the help of a career counsellor from any of the Manitoba Jobs and Skills Development Centres in the eight regions of Manitoba.

The Interview Guys’ Top 5 Cover Letter Tips that Will Get You the Interview, highlights the 5 most important considerations when writing a cover letter:

Careercake.com’s 5 Steps to an Incredible Cover Letter tells you several ways how your cover letter can stand out and convey your enthusiasm and passion for the job:

English 4 U explains why you need a cover letter and shows format and sample sentences per paragraph.

If you want to know what you should leave out when writing a cover letter, read Great Resumes Fast’s 5 Things You Should Never Say in your Cover Letter.

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8 Cover Letter Qualities that Will Get You that Interview

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